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Tevita Faka’osi is fighting violence and helping others in Flaxmere

Tevita Faka’osi founded Kainga Pasifika Services Trust in Flaxmere to help prevent violence in the home. The Tongan leader has created a safe place that is empowering the Pasifika community while helping new migrants settle in the Hawke’s Bay area. John Pulu met him in Flaxmere.

Tevita Faka’osi is taking a stand against family violence.

“I thought violence is only hitting, smacking and so forth, but it’s more than that; it’s emotional, spiritual, economical.. you name it,” he says.

The father of three believes that if you want to make changes at home, you have to start with yourself.

“It is very hard for us Pacific men to stand up, especially for those people who have a status in the community, church ministers… so I understand because I am one of them.”

Nine years ago he left his job in the horticulture industry to focus on nurturing families.

“It’s sad because it’s serious when people are hurt and they come and go through the court system,” he says.

Family violence goes undetected as it often happens behind closed doors. This is something Tevita wants to change, so he founded the Kainga Pasifika Services Trust in Flaxmere.

One of his clients is a mother of six who did not want to be identified. She admitted that pressures from outside of the home was weighing her down.

“I didn’t even think myself… I was violent. But I was violent because of the things that I was saying, and that’s also part of what we learnt here. How you take on board what is said and how you respond to it and know the level of where the anger is… where it’s safe and where it’s not safe.”

Along with her husband, she signed up for a one-on-one session with Tevita. It’s helped with the healing process.

“Tevita brings the bible into it, and that made sense for me that I’ll give it a go,” she says.

By Pasifika for Pasifika is what drives this organisation, where they focus on relationships, culture and spiritually to improve the well-being of the community.

“Happy relations in the family create a lot of intimate relationships among themselves,” Tevita says.

“They feel safe and they start to respect more and the kids feel they are much more connected to the father, to their mother.”

It’s a proud moment for Tevita, and it’s important that he stays connected with his community. He has many roles — a justice of the peace, a deacon, language interpreter, award-winning radio host — and now he is also helping new migrants settle in the Hawke’s Bay region.

“I like it. The reason is because I love helping people. But I don’t want people to say, oh you do a good job or whatever… That’s not me,” Tevita says.

“To be honest, I would rather show my work by doing it.”

By John Pulu

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